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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Saturday, April 30, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - This afternoon at Castelgandolfo the Pope received the participants in the XVII Assembly of the European Broadcasting Union gathered these days in Rome as guests of Vatican Radio, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

  The Holy Father emphasized that through radio, "pontiffs have been able to transmit, across borders, messages of great importance for humanity. ... It can be said that the entire teaching of the Church in this area - beginning with the addresses of Pius XII, through the documents of the Second Vatican Council, up to my most recent messages on new digital technologies - is marked by a current of optimism, hope, and sincere compassion with those who dedicate themselves in this field to promoting encounter and dialogue, to serve the human community and to contribute to the peaceful development of society".

  "In today's society", he continued, "the basic values of the good of humanity are in play, public opinion ... is often found disoriented and divided". In this context he noted that "it is a duty to provide every day, correct and balanced information and a profound debate that seeks the best shared solutions regarding these questions in a pluralistic society. It is a task that requires great professional honor, correction and respect, an openness to different perspectives, clarity in treating problems, freedom from ideological barriers, and an awareness of the complexity of problems".

  Benedict XVI recalled that the Catholic Church "intends to offer by witnessing to her adherence to the truth that is Christ, yet doing so in a spirit of openness and dialogue. ... Religion contributes by 'purifying' reason, helping it not to fall prey to distortions, such as manipulation by ideology or partial application that fails to take full account of the dignity of the human person". In this sense the Pope invited the professionals in communications to "seek ways of promoting and encouraging dialogue between faith and reason, with a view to serving the common good of the nation".

  While emphasizing the difficulties that need to be faced in their service, the Pope stressed that "the challenges of the modern world on which you have to report are too great and too urgent for you to become discouraged or tempted to give up in the face of such difficulties".

  The Holy Father concluded by encouraging them to put their "contacts and activities at the service of reflection and commitment" with the aim of "ensuring that the instruments of social communication promote dialogue, peace and development of peoples in solidarity, overcoming cultural separation, uncertainties and fears".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for May is: "That those working in communication media may respect the truth, solidarity, and dignity of all people ".

  His mission intention is: "That the Lord may help the Church in China persevere in fidelity to the Gospel and grow in unity".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday, Friday 29 April, in the offices of Azerbaijan's State Committee for Work with Religious Associations, Baku, Azerbaijan, an accord was signed between the Holy See and the Republic of Azerbaijan that regulates juridical relations between the Catholic Church and that Nation as made public in a communique published today.

  Signing for the Holy See as plenipotentiary was Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, apostolic nuncio to that country, and signing on behalf of the Republic of Azerbaijan was Hidayat Orujov, president of the State Committee for Work with Religious Associations.

  The agreement, which entails eight articles, regulates the juridical situation of the Catholic Church in Azerbaijan and, among other things, guarantees the freedom to publicly profess and practice the Catholic faith as well as the right of the Catholic Church to organize and exercise her mission in conformity with ecclesiastic legislation. At the same time it recognizes and registers the juridical person of the Catholic Church and all its institutions, ensuring free communication between the local Catholic community and the Holy See as well as access to the means of communication and the free election, on the part of the Holy See, of an Ordinary with the responsibility of her ecclesiastical constituency.  Finally, it regulates the concession of residence and work visas for ecclesiastical personnel.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, archbishop of Milan, Italy.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today The Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Saul Figueroa Albornoz, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Caracas, as bishop of Puerto Cabello (area 729, population 331,000, Catholics 298,000, priests 25, religious 19), Venezuela.

- Bishop Piero Coccia, archbishop of Pesaro, as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

- Johan Ketelers, secretary general of the International Catholic Migration Commission, as a consultant of the same council.
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Friday, April 29, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 29 APR 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office there was a meeting with journalists to explain and clarify the events planned for the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II.

  The speakers were Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office; Msgr. Marco Frisina, director of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Vicariate of Rome; Fr. Walter Insero, director of the Office of Social Communications of the Vicariate of Rome; and Angleo Scelzo, undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. 

  Fr. Lombardi explained that this morning, in the Vatican Grottoes, "the tomb of John Paul II was opened and the case containing the body of the Venerable Servant of God was extracted".

  "As can be recalled, the Pope was buried in three coffins, the first of wood, which was displayed during the funeral, the second of lead, which is sealed, and the third, external one, which is also made of wood and was the one revealed this morning at the moment of the extraction from the tomb. It is in a good state of preservation, even though showing signs of the passage of time.

  After the procedures to open the tomb, which began first thing in the morning, the coffin was displayed on a dais at the gravesite until 9:00am, when Cardinal Angelo Comastri, after a brief prayer, intoned the litanies.

  Besides Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archbishop Giuseppe D'Andrea, and Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, representing the Basilica and the Chapter of St. Peter, there were also present Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State; Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, President of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, Poland and former personal secretary to John Paul II; Archbishops Fernando Filoni, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State; Carlo Maria Vigano, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Piero Marini, who was Master of Liturgical Celebrations under John Paul II and Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care; Sr. Tobiana and the religious of the papal apartments of John Paul II; Commander Angelo Gugel; the heads of the Corps of the Gendarmerie of Vatican City State and the Swiss Guard; and other persons.

  All together there were several dozen persons including the workers of the Fabric of St. Peters who carried out their task with great devotion and a profound spiritual participation.

  While singing the litanies during the brief passage, the case was translated before the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican Grottoes and was covered with a wide cloth embroidered in gold.

  The Cardinal Secretary of State offered a short final prayer and the assembly disbanded at 9:15am.

  The great stone of the tomb, removed and placed in another part of the grottoes, is intact and will be moved to Krakow where it will be placed in the new church dedicated to the Blessed John Paul II.

  The coffin, as already announced, will remain in the grottoes until Sunday morning when it will be translated to the Basilica, before the main altar, for the homage of the Holy Father and the faithful after the beatification. In the meantime the Vatican grottoes will be closed to the public.

  In all likelihood the permanent placement of the Blessed under the altar of the Chapel of St. Sebastian will take place in the afternoon of Monday, 2 May, when the Basilica will be closed".

  Msgr. Frisina explained that the celebration of the Vigil on 30 April (from 8:00pm to 11:30pm) at Circo Massimo - which will be open to the public beginning fom 5:30pm - will be enlivened by the Choir of the Diocese of Rome and the Orchestra of the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, which he will conduct. The choir of the Philippine community in Rome and the Gaudium Poloniae Choir will perform two traditional pieces.

  During the first part of the vigil a celebration of memory, recalling the words and gestures of John Paul II, is planned. "On stage", Msgr. Frisina said, "there will be a large reproduction of the image of Mary Salus Populi Romani, patroness of the city of Rome. Through images we will also relive the last months of the pontificate of John Paul II, which were marked by his suffering".

  Later, testimonials of some of those who worked with the pope will be given: Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, and the French nun Marie Simon-Pierre whose miraculous cure opened the path to his beatification. Likewise, the testimonial of some of the youth of Rome on the importance of the example and the words of the Blessed on their lives will be offered.  At the end of this second part, Totus Tuus, composed for the fiftieth anniversary of the priestly ordination of John Paul II (1996), will be sung.

  Msgr. Frisina noted that the second part of the Vigil will begin with a few words addressed by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome that "will summarize the spiritual and pastoral character of the Blessed". Afterward will follow the recitation of the Mysteries of Light of the Holy Rosary, with a live link with five Marian shrines. Each of the Mysteries will be tied to a prayer intention of importance to John Paul II: at the sanctuary of Lagiewniki in Krakow, Poland the intention will be for the youth; at the sanctuary of Kawekamo, Bugando, Tanzania the intention will be for the family; at the sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico the intention will be for hope and peace among nations; at the sanctuary of Fatima, the intention will be for the Church. At the conclusion, Benedict XVI, in a live link from the Vatican, will give the final prayer and will impart the apostolic blessing to all participating.

  Regarding the beatification Mass on 1 May, the Sunday after Easter or Divine Mercy Sunday, an hour before the service begins - that is, at 9:00am - there will be an hour of preparation during which the faithful shall pray together the Devotion of Divine Mercy, which was introduced by St. Mary Faustina Kowalska and was dear to Blessed John Paul II. The preparation will conclude with an invocation to the Mercy of God in the world, with the hymn "Jezu ufam tobie" (Jesus, I trust in you). 

  Directly following will be Holy Mass, with the readings of the Sunday after Easter. At the end of the rite of beatification, when the tapestry depicting the newly Blessed is unveiled, the Hymn of the Blessed will be sung in Latin. At the end of the Mass, a reliquary of John Paul II will be brought to the altar for the veneration of all the faithful.

  The Mass of Thanksgiving (Monday 2 May, in St. Peter's Square at 10:30am) will be presided over by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone and will be preceded by an hour of preparation during which we will hear some of John Paul II's poetry recited by two actors, one Polish and the other Italian. The Eucharistic celebration will be enlivened by the Choir of the Diocese of Rome with the participation of the Choir of Warsaw and the Symphonic Orchestra of the Radio of Katowice, Poland. The texts will be those from the Mass of the newly Blessed.

  For his part, Fr. Watler Insero, director of the Office of Social Communications of the Vicariate of Rome, clarified a few points regarding the events connected with the beatification, among which was the "white night" of prayer that the city of Rome will hold for the first time.

  "After the Vigil in Circo Massimo, beginning at 11:30pm", he said, "it will be possible to continue praying until dawn in eight churches in the city center that are found on the journey from Circo Massimo to St. Peter's Basilica: Santa Anastasia, San Bartolomeo all'Isola, Santa Agnese in Agone (in Piazza Navona, which will be led by a group of Polish youth), San Marco al Campidoglio, Santissimo Nome di Gesu all'Argentina, Santa Maria in Vallicella, San Andrea della Valle, and San Giovanni dei Fiorentini".

  "The Roman youth, serving as hosts of this evening of faith, will greet the pilgrims, inviting them to enter the churches and join in the prayers. During the night, in keeping with the common format adopted by the churches involved, there will be an alternation of the various following moments programmed: the reading of and meditation on the Word of God; silence and Eucharistic adoration; and the reading of some texts that John Paul II addressed to the youth. There will also be testimonials from some young persons, songs performed by youth groups, and the recitation of the Rosary and Divine Mercy Devotion. In these eight churches (...) many priests will be available to hear confessions.

  Fr. Walter Insero also announced that Caritas' soup kitchen for the poor and service center at Termini Station will be dedicated to Blessed John Paul II. It is "a sign of love offered by the Diocese of Rome to recall her beloved bishop and his pastoral concern for the poorest of the poor". He also noted that the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Vatican Radio, Vatican Television, and the Office for Social Communications of the Vicariate of Rome have realized an important project focused on social networking that is called "Digital Sentinels".

  "It is an initiative", he said, "has created groups of faithful, young and old, who bring the witness and teaching of the newly Blessed to the web, especially through Facebook and Twitter. The entire initiative is described at: http://www.pope2you.net/index.php?id?testi=61. The great event that the digital sentinels are organizing, however, will be even more innovative: through the official Twitter channel (created by the Vatican for the pope's beatification) http://twitter.com/#!/Pope2YouVatican and Vatican Radio's Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/vatican.Johnpaul2) it will be possible to follow the beatification celebrations live. Moreover, at Pope2You.net it will be possible to stream the events, also through apps for iPhone and iPad. http://www.vatican.va/video will also be streaming the events". 

  "'Digital Sentinels', which was launched this 5 April", Fr. Walter Insero concluded, "has had an excellent reception and resonance in the communications world. ... Almost 1000 persons (specialized journalists, communications experts, ...) will follow our live Twitter feed and more than 3000 persons on Facebook are populating our Sentinel groups ... Also, thanks to the new Pope2You service, almost 40,000 ecards have been sent with quotes addressed by John Paul II to the youth".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education as his special envoy to the celebration of the VI centenary of the dedication of the Cathedral of Wloclawek, Poland that will take place on 26 June of this year.
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Thursday, April 28, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 28 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed Fr. Virgilio do Nascimento Antunes, rector of Nossa Senhora de Fatima Sanctuary, as bishop of the Diocese of Coimbra (area 5,300, population 564,300, Catholics 507,000, priests 187, permanent deacons 8, religious 332), Portugal. The bishop-elect was born in Sao Mamede, Batalha, Portugal in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Albino Mamede Cleto, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 APR 2011 (VIS) - Tomorrow morning the exhibit "John Paul II:  Homage of Benedict XVI for the Beatification" will open in the Charlemagne Wing of Bernini's colonnades around St. Peter's Square and remain open until 24 July.

  The exhibition, organized by the Governorate of the Vatican City State in collaboration with the Polish Embassy to the Holy See and the Polish Culture and Heritage Ministry, is divided into 15 sections illustrating the life and pontificate of Karol Wojtyla, from his infancy and childhood in Wadowice to the last stage of his life and solemn funeral on 8 April 2005. With a wealth of detail it presents all the moments and aspects of the life of the newly beatified pope.

  During the exhibit's inaugural ceremony, in the presence of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, and various other figures, the official stamps issued jointly by the Vatican City State and Poczta Polska (Polish Post) will be presented.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 APR 2011 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

 - Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil, C.SS.R., major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars, on 1 April at the age of 83.

- Bishop Patrick Vincent Ahern, auxiliary bishop emeritus of New York, USA, on 19 March at the age of  92.

- Bishop William Henry Bullock, emeritus of Madison, USA,  on 3 April at the age of 83.

- Bishop Louis Dufaux, emeritus of Grenoble, France, on 14 April at the age of 79.

- Bishop Ioan Sisestean, of Maramures of the Romanians, Romania, on 12 April at the age of 74.
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 21 APRIL 2011 (VIS) At 9:30 today, Holy Thursday, in the Vatican basilica, the Pope celebrated the Chrism Mass, which is celebrated today in all cathedrals around the world. The cardinals, bishops and priests gathered in Rome concelebrated with the Holy Father. The homily was followed by the renewal of priestly vows and the blessing of the oils of catechumens, for anointing the sick, and of Chrism.

 In his homily, the Holy Father explained that three oils are blessed in the liturgy of Holy Thursday ... The oil of catechumens "indicates a first way of being touched by Christ and by His Spirit - an inner touch, by which the Lord draws people close to himself. ... God loves us. He comes to meet the unrest of our hearts ... Knowledge of God is never exhausted. ... Let us remain constantly on a journey towards him, longing for him, always open to receive new knowledge and love!".

 Then referring to the oil for anointing the sick, Benedict XVI commented that "healing is one of the fundamental tasks entrusted by Jesus to the Church ... the first and fundamental healing takes place in our encounter with Christ who reconciles us to God and mends our broken hearts. But over and above this central task, the Church's essential mission also includes the specific healing of sickness and suffering".

 "In third place", he continued, "is the most noble of the ecclesial oils, the chrism ... this oil serves chiefly for the anointing of confirmation and ordination. ... Baptism and confirmation are an initiation into this People of God that spans the world; the anointing that takes place in baptism and confirmation is an anointing that confers this priestly ministry towards mankind. Christians are a priestly people for the world. Christians should make the living God visible to the world, they should bear witness to him and lead people towards him. ... Have not we - the People of God - become to a large extent a people of unbelief and distance from God? Is it perhaps the case that the West, the heartlands of Christianity, are tired of their faith, bored by their history and culture, and no longer wish to know faith in Jesus Christ?"

 He concluded, "For all the shame we feel over our failings, we must not forget that today too there are radiant examples of faith, people who give hope to the world through their faith and love. When Pope John Paul II is beatified on 1 May, we shall think of him, with hearts full of thankfulness, as a great witness to God and to Jesus Christ in our day, as a man filled with the Holy Spirit".

 At 5:30 pm, Benedict XVI concelebrated the Mass of the Lord's Supper at the basilica of St. John Lateran. In imitation of the Lord's gesture towards the Apostles, the Pope washed the feet of twelve priests. During the presentation of gifts, the Pope was presented with an offering to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. 

 In his homily the Pope commented on the words of Jesus at the Last Supper: "In his heart he awaited the moment when he would give himself to his own under the appearance of bread and wine ... Jesus desires us, he awaits us. But what about ourselves?" he asked. "Do we really desire him? Are we anxious to meet him? Do we desire to encounter him, to become one with him, to receive the gifts he offers us in the Holy Eucharist? Or are we indifferent, distracted, busy about other things?"

 The Holy Father commented on one of the prayers Jesus made to the Father during the Last Supper: "the prayer for unity ... Christian unity can exist only if Christians are deeply united to Him, to Jesus".

 The Pope emphasised that "with the Eucharist, the Church is born" and indicated that "the Eucharist is the sacrament of unity. It reaches the very mystery of the Trinity and thus creates visible unity".

 Benedict XVI recalled that "Jesus prays for the faith of Peter and his successors ... Jesus tells Peter beforehand of his coming betrayal and conversion". In this respect he highlighted that "we too, all of us, need to learn again to accept God and Jesus Christ as he is, and not the way we want him to be. We too find it hard to accept that he bound himself to the limitations of his Church and her ministers".

 "All of us need the conversion which enables us to accept Jesus in his reality as God and man. We need the humility of the disciple who follows the will of his Master. Tonight we want to ask Jesus to look to us, as with kindly eyes he looked to Peter when the time was right, and to convert us".

 "The ministry of unity has its visible place in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Dear friends, it is a great consolation for the Pope to know that at each Eucharistic celebration everyone prays for him, and that our prayer is joined to the Lord's prayer for Peter. Only by the prayer of the Lord and of the Church can the Pope fulfill his task of strengthening his brethren - of feeding the flock of Christ and of becoming the guarantor of that unity which becomes a visible witness to the mission which Jesus received from the Father".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 APRIL 2011 (VIS) At 5:00 pm today, Good Friday, the Pope celebrated the Passion of the Lord in St. Peter's basilica. Following the reading of the Passion according to St. John, in keeping with tradition, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., Preacher of the Pontifical Household, pronounced the homily. This was followed by the universal prayer, adoration of the Holy Cross, and Holy Communion. 

 At 9:00 pm, the Holy Father travelled to the Colosseum to preside over the Via Crucis. This year's texts were prepared by Sister Maria Rita Piccione, of the Order of Saint Augustine, from the Monastery of the Santissimi Quattro Coronati in Rome.

 Benedict XVI continued the ceremony from the Palatine Hill. The cross was carried to the different stations by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope's vicar for the diocese of Rome; a Roman family with five children (triplets and twins); a family from Ethiopia; two Augustinian nuns; a Franciscan and a youth from Egypt; and two Franciscan friars from the Custody of the Holy Land.

 At the end of the ceremony, the Holy Father addressed those gathered: "Tonight we have relived, deep within our hearts, the drama of Jesus, weighed down by pain, by evil, by human sin."

 "But let us look more closely at that man crucified between earth and heaven. Let us contemplate him more intently, and we will realize that the cross is not the banner of the victory of death, sin and evil, but rather the luminous sign of love, of God's immense love, of something that we could never have asked, imagined or expected: God bent down over us, he lowered himself, even to the darkest corner of our lives, in order to stretch out his hand and draw us to himself, to bring us all the way to himself. The cross speaks to us of the supreme love of God and invites, today, to renew our faith in the power of that love, and to believe that in every situation of our lives, our history and our world, God is able to vanquish death, sin and evil, and to give us new, risen life. In the Son of God's death on the cross, we find the seed of new hope for life, like the seed which dies within the earth".

 Finally, the Pope invited us to "gaze on the crucified Jesus", and to "ask in prayer: Enlighten our hearts, Lord, that we may follow you along the way of the cross. Put to death in us the 'old man' bound by selfishness, evil and sin. Make us 'new men', men and women of holiness, transformed and enlivened by your love".
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VATICAN CITY, 23 APRIL 2011 (VIS) - At 9:00 pm this evening, Benedict XVI presided over the solemn Paschal Vigil, which began with the blessing of the new flame in the atrium of the Vatican basilica, the processional entry into St. Peter's with the paschal candle, and the singing of the Exultet. During the baptismal liturgy, the Holy Father administered the sacrament of Christian initiation to six catechumens from various countries. 

 "The liturgical celebration of the Easter Vigil makes use of two eloquent signs", said the Pope during his homily. "First there is the fire that becomes light ... The second sign is water... Yet these great signs of creation, light and water, are not the only constituent elements of the liturgy of the Easter Vigil. Another essential feature is the ample encounter with the words of sacred Scripture that it provides".

 The Holy Father explained that "The Church wishes to offer us a panoramic view of whole trajectory of salvation history, starting with creation, passing through the election and the liberation of Israel to the testimony of the prophets by which this entire history is directed ever more clearly towards Jesus Christ".

 "At the Easter Vigil", he continued, "the journey along the paths of sacred Scripture begins with the account of creation. This is the liturgy's way of telling us that the creation story is itself a prophecy. It is not information about the external processes by which the cosmos and man himself came into being. ... Now, one might ask: is it really important to speak also of creation during the Easter Vigil? ... To omit the creation would be to misunderstand the very history of God with men, to diminish it, to lose sight of its true order of greatness". 

 Benedict XVI emphasised that "the Church is not some kind of association that concerns itself with man's religious needs but is limited to that objective. No, she brings man into contact with God and thus with the source of all things. Therefore we relate to God as Creator, and so we have a responsibility for creation".

 "The creation account tells us, then, that the world is a product of creative Reason. Hence it tells us that, far from there being an absence of reason and freedom at the origin of all things, the source of everything is creative Reason, love, and freedom".

The Pope remarked that "if man were merely a random product of evolution in some place on the margins of the universe, then his life would make no sense or might even be a chance of nature. But no, Reason is there at the beginning: creative, divine Reason".

 He recalled that "the Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. ... But something quite unprecedented happened in the nascent Church: the place of the Sabbath, the seventh day, was taken by the first day. As the day of the liturgical assembly, it is the day for encounter with God through Jesus Christ who as the Risen Lord encountered his followers on the first day, Sunday, after they had found the tomb empty".

 He continued, "This encounter happens afresh at every celebration of the Eucharist, when the Lord enters anew into the midst of his disciples and gives himself to them, allows himself, so to speak, to be touched by them, sits down at table with them. This change is utterly extraordinary, considering that the Sabbath, the seventh day seen as the day of encounter with God, is so profoundly rooted in the Old Testament".

 Benedict XVI affirmed that "the first day, according to the Genesis account, is the day on which creation begins. Now it was the day of creation in a new way, it had become the day of the new creation. We celebrate the first day. And in so doing we celebrate God the Creator and his creation. Yes, we believe in God, the Creator of heaven and earth. And we celebrate the God who was made man, who suffered, died, was buried and rose again".

 He concluded, "We celebrate the definitive victory of the Creator and of his creation. We celebrate this day as the origin and the goal of our existence. We celebrate it because now, thanks to the risen Lord, it is definitively established that reason is stronger than unreason, truth stronger than lies, love stronger than death. We celebrate the first day because we know that the black line drawn across creation does not last forever".
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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 24, 2011 (VIS) This morning Benedict XVI celebrated the Easter Sunday Resurrection Mass in St. Peter's Square. At midday, following the Eucharist, the Pope addressed those present from the central balcony of the basilica, and delivered the traditional Easter message, from which we offer several extracts:

 "Easter morning brings us news that is ancient yet ever new: Christ is risen! The echo of this event, which issued forth from Jerusalem twenty centuries ago, continues to resound in the Church, deep in whose heart lives the vibrant faith of Mary, Mother of Jesus, the faith of Mary Magdalene and the other women who first discovered the empty tomb, and the faith of Peter and the other Apostles".

 "Just as the sun's rays in springtime cause the buds on the branches of the trees to sprout and open up, so the radiance that streams forth from Christ's resurrection gives strength and meaning to every human hope, to every expectation, wish and plan. Hence the entire cosmos is rejoicing today, caught up in the springtime of humanity, which gives voice to creation's silent hymn of praise. The Easter Alleluia, resounding in the Church as she makes her pilgrim way through the world, expresses the silent exultation of the universe and above all the longing of every human soul that is sincerely open to God, giving thanks to him for his infinite goodness, beauty and truth".

 "'In your resurrection, O Christ, let heaven and earth rejoice.' To this summons to praise, which arises today from the heart of the Church, the 'heavens' respond fully: the hosts of angels, saints and blessed souls join with one voice in our exultant song. In heaven all is peace and gladness. But alas, it is not so on earth! Here, in this world of ours, the Easter Alleluia still contrasts with the cries and laments that arise from so many painful situations: deprivation, hunger, disease, war, violence. Yet it was for this that Christ died and rose again! He died on account of sin, including ours today, he rose for the redemption of history, including our own. So my message today is intended for everyone, and, as a prophetic proclamation, it is intended especially for peoples and communities who are undergoing a time of suffering, that the Risen Christ may open up for them the path of freedom, justice and peace".

 "May the Land which was the first to be flooded by the light of the Risen One rejoice. May the splendour of Christ reach the peoples of the Middle East, so that the light of peace and of human dignity may overcome the darkness of division, hate and violence. In the current conflict in Libya, may diplomacy and dialogue take the place of arms and may those who suffer as a result of the conflict be given access to humanitarian aid. In the countries of northern Africa and the Middle East, may all citizens, especially young people, work to promote the common good and to build a society where poverty is defeated and every political choice is inspired by respect for the human person". 

 "May help come from all sides to those fleeing conflict and to refugees from various African countries who have been obliged to leave all that is dear to them; may people of good will open their hearts to welcome them, so that the pressing needs of so many brothers and sisters will be met with a concerted response in a spirit of solidarity; and may our words of comfort and appreciation reach all those who make such generous efforts and offer an exemplary witness in this regard".

 "May peaceful coexistence be restored among the peoples of Ivory Coast, where there is an urgent need to tread the path of reconciliation and pardon, in order to heal the deep wounds caused by the recent violence. May Japan find consolation and hope as it faces the dramatic consequences of the recent earthquake, along with other countries that in recent months have been tested by natural disasters which have sown pain and anguish".

 "May heaven and earth rejoice at the witness of those who suffer opposition and even persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ. May the proclamation of his victorious resurrection deepen their courage and trust".

 Following his message, and before imparting the Urbi et Orbi blessing (to the city of Rome and to the world), the Holy Father communicated his Easter greetings in sixty-five languages.
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VATICAN CITY, 25 APR 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI, who has been at the pontifical residence at Castelgandolfo since yesterday, appeared at the balcony of the central patio of the apostolic palace there to pray the Regina Coeli with the gathered faithful. The prayer was televised live for the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

 "Christ has conquered death, caused by our sin, and brings us again to eternal life. The entire life of the Church and our very existence as Christians comes from this event. Today, Monday of the Angel", the Pope said, "we read in the first missionary address of the nascent Church: 'God raised this Jesus', the apostle Paul proclaimed, 'of this we are all witnesses'.

 "How can we meet the Lord, each time becoming more and more his true witnesses?" the Holy Father asked, explaining that St. Maximus of Turin affirmed, "whosoever wishes to reach the Savior must first put themselves, in their very faith, at the right hand of the divinity, and place themselves in heaven with the belief of their hearts". This is constantly learning to direct the mind's and the heart's gaze toward the heights of God where the risen Christ is. In prayer and in adoration God encounters the human being ... Only if we know how to direct ourselves toward Him and pray to Him can we discover the deepest meaning of our lives and our daily path will be illuminated with the light of the Risen One".

 Finally, Benedict XVI recalled that today the Church in the East and the West celebrate St. Mark the Evangelist, patron of the Italian city of Venice, and that he will make a pastoral visit there on 7 and 8 May of this year. After praying the Regina Coeli he greeted the members of the Meter Association, founder of the National Day for children victims of violence, abuse, and indifference. "I encourage you", he said, "to continue your work of prevention and raising awareness side by side with the various educational associations. In particular, I am thinking of the parishes, societies, and other ecclesial institutions that generously dedicate themselves to the formation of the new generations".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 APR 2011 (VIS) - Following is the communique published by the Holy See Press Office regarding the reliquary of Blessed John Paul II, which will be displayed during his beatification ceremony this 1 May.

 "The reliquary that will be displayed for the veneration of the faithful, on the occasion of the beatification of Pope John Paul II, is a small ampoule of his blood contained within a precious reliquary that the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff has prepared expressly for the occasion. It is opportune to explain briefly, but precisely, the origin of this reliquary.

 During the last days of the Holy Father's illness, his entrusted medical personnel extracted blood to be held at the transfusion center of the Bambino Gesu Hospital, in the case of an eventual transfusion. This center, under the direction of Professor Isacchi, was effectively entrusted with this medical service for the Pope. 

 Nevertheless, there was no transfusion and the extracted blood remained conserved in four small containers, two of which were left to Pope John Paul II's personal secretary, Cardinal Dziwisz, the other two remaining at Bambino Gesu, devotedly looked after by the hospital's religious staff. For the beatification it is precisely these last two which have been placed in two reliquaries. 
 The first will be presented for the veneration of the faithful during the beatification ceremony, 1 May, and later will be kept in the "Sacrario", in the charge of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, together with other important reliquaries. The second will be returned to the care of the Bambino Gesu Hospital, whose religious staff have safeguarded this precious relic throughout these years.

 The blood is in a liquid state, which is explained by an anti-coagulant substance present in the test tubes at the moment of extraction".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed 

- Bishop Felipe de Jesus Estevez, previously auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Miami, as bishop of Saint Augustine (area 28,575, population 1,966,314, Catholics 171,000, priests 136, permanent deacons 62, religious 118), USA. He succeeds Bishop Victor B. Galeone, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Bishop Dario Campos, O.F.M. of Leopoldina, Brasil as bishop of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim (area 10,073, population 661,000, Catholics 395,000, priests 71, permanent deacons 41, religious 73), Brasil. 

 On Monday, 25 April, the Holy Father appointed Msgr. Charles C. Thompson of the clergy of the archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky, vicar general and pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, as Bishop of Evansville (area 12,971, population 501,000, Catholics 87,800, priests 75, permanent deacons 52, religious 255), USA. The bishop-elect was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1987. He succeeds Bishop Gerald Andrew Gettelfinger, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 On Holy Thursday, 21 April, the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop Pietro Meloni, auxiliary bishop of the Cagliari archdiocese, from the pastoral care of the diocese of Nuoro (area 2,806, population 124,708, Catholics 122,447, priests 94, permanent deacons 8, religious 125), Italy, upon having reached the age limit. The Holy Father has appointed Bishop Mosè Marcia, previously bishop of Vardimissa, as new Bishop of Nuoro (Italy).
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VATICAN CITY, 27 APR 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Pope travelled from Castelgandolfo to the Vatican for the General Audience that took place in St. Peter's Square and in which over 20,000 people participated.

 "Christ resurrected from the dead", the Holy Father asserted, "is the foundation of our faith that radiates throughout the Church's liturgy, giving it content and meaning ... Christ's resurrection is the door to a new life that is no longer subjected to the termination of time, a life immersed in the eternity of God. With Jesus' resurrection begins a new condition of human being, which illuminates and transforms our daily path and opens a qualitatively new and different future for all humanity".

 "In his Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul says 'If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth'". However, Benedict XVI emphasized, the apostle "is far from inviting Christians, any of us, to shun the world in which God has placed us. It is true that we are citizens of another 'city', our true home, but the path toward this goal must be traversed every day in this land. To participate, from this moment, in the life of the resurrected Christ, we must live as new men and women in this world, at the heart of this earthly city".

 "This is the path", the Holy Father continued, "to transform not only ourselves but also to transform the world, to give the city a new face that favors the development of humankind and society within the logic of solidarity, goodness, and profound respect for the dignity proper to each ... Easter offers the newness of a profound and complete passage from a life subject to the slavery of sin to a life of freedom, inspired by love, the force that breaks down barriers and builds new harmony in our hearts and in our relationships with others and with things".

 Every Christian, just as every community, "that lives the experience of this passage to the Resurrection, cannot help but be new leaven in the world giving themselves without reserve to the most urgent and just causes, as seen by the witness of the saints in every age and place. The expectations of our time are also great: believing firmly that the resurrection of Christ has renewed humankind without separating it from the world in which it builds its history, we Christians must be the radiant witnesses of Easter's new path".

 "Easter is, therefore, a gift that must be welcomed in faith more deeply each time, to work in any situation with the grace of Christ, according to the logic of God, the logic of love", the pontiff concluded.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 19 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Pope sent the following telegram of condolence to Archbishop Cesare Nosiglia of Turin, Italy on the death yesterday at the age of 86 of Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, Archbishop Emeritus of that diocese.

 "It is with sorrow that I have received the news of the death of Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, after a long illness lived with faithful abandon to the Lord. I desire to express to Your Excellency and to the entire diocesan community, as well as to the family of the lamented cardinal, that I participate deeply in their grief, thinking affectionately of this dear brother who has generously served the Gospel and the Church. I recall with gratitude his intense pastoral work extended first as a fervid priest and auxiliary bishop of Milan and then as an attentive and amiable archbishop of Turin. I offer fervent prayers to the Lord so that He might welcome him into His peace. To all those who are mourning his death I cordially impart the comfort of apostolic blessing, with particular thoughts for those who have lovingly cared for him in these last years of his illness."
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VATICAN CITY, 19 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today, the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff announced that:

- Friday 29 April, at 6:00pm, Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, archbishop of Warsaw, will take possession of the title of Sts. Sylvester and Martin of Tours at Via del Monte Oppio 28, Rome.

- Friday 29 April, at 7:00pm, Cardinal Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens, archbishop military ordinary emeritus of Spain, will take possession of the title of Saint Gabriel the Archangel all'Acqua Traversa at Viale Cortina d'Ampezzo 144, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 APR 2011 (VIS) - In this morning's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on the Easter Triduum, "the three holy days in which the Church commemorates the mystery of Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection".

 Benedict XVI explained that "Holy Thursday is the day that commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and ministerial priesthood. In the morning, each diocesan community, with their bishop, meets at their cathedral church to celebrate the Chrism Mass. ... Priestly vows are also renewed."

 "In the afternoon of Holy Thursday", he continued, "the Easter Triduum truly begins, with the remembrance of the Last Supper at which Jesus instituted the commemoration of his Passion, fulfilling the Jewish paschal ritual. ... Jesus washes the feet of his apostles, inviting them to love one another as He loved them, giving His life for them. Repeating this gesture in the liturgy, we are also called to actively bear witness to our Redeemer's love".

 The Holy Father recalled that Holy Thursday "ends with Eucharistic adoration, in memory of the Lord's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. ... Aware of his imminent death on the cross, he felt a great sorrow".

 Referring to the somnolence of the apostles who accompanied Jesus to the Mount of Olives, the Pope noted that "it was the insensibility for God that makes us insensitive to evil". With his death(the chalice that he had to drink from)., the Lord "felt all the suffering of humanity". His will was subordinated to the will of the Father, his natural will transformed into a 'yes' to God's will".

 Entering into the will of God, he added, "is not slavery but an entering into truth, love, and the good. It is directing our will toward God". The act at Gethsemane is that "Jesus, with his anguish, charged with the drama of humanity, with our suffering and our poverty, transforms it into the will of God and thus opens the gate of heaven".

 Later, referring to Good Friday, the Pope said that this day commemorates "the Lord's passion and death. We adore the crucified Christ, participating in his suffering with our penitence and fasting".

 "Finally, on the night of Holy Saturday, we celebrate the solemn Easter Vigil at which is announced Christ's resurrection, his definitive victory over death, which challenges us to be new persons in Him".

 The Holy Father highlighted that "the standard that guided each of Jesus' decisions during his entire life was his firm desire to love the Father and be faithful to Him. ... On reliving the Holy Triduum", he concluded, "we make ourselves available to welcome God's will into our lives, aware that our true good, the path of our lives, is found in His will. May the Virgin Mother guide us along this path and grant us her divine Son's grace to be able to dedicate our lives, in the love of Jesus, to the service of others".

 During his greetings to the groups present at today's audience, the Pope addressed the 3,000 students participating in the International UNIV Congress sponsored by the Opus Dei prelature. "I hope", he said, "that these Roman day will be the occasion for you to rediscover the person of Christ and a strong ecclesial experience, so that you may return home inspired by the desire to witness to the mercy of the heavenly Father. May your lives thus realize what St. Josemaria Escriva described: "Your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: This man reads the life of Jesus Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father appointed:

- Bishop Faustino Armendariz Jimenez, of the diocese of Matamoros, Mexico, as Bishop of Queretaro (area 15,326, population 1,856,000, Catholics 1,809,000, priests 338, religious 1,071), Mexico. He succeeds Archbishop Mario de Gasperin Gasperin whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Bishop Fernando Natalio Chomali Garib, titular of Noba and auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Santiago, Chile, as archbishop metropolitan of Concepcion (area 11,330, population 1,248,993, Catholics 645,978, priests 121, permanent deacons 35, religious 254), Chile.

- Bishop Mylo Hubert Claudio Vergara, of the diocese of San Jose, the Philippines, as bishop of Pasig (area 78, population 1,517,000, Catholics 1,143,000, priests 29, religious 8), the Philippines.

- Fr. Peter Andrew Comensoli, professor of the Catholic Institute of Sydney, Australia, as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Sydney (area 1,264, population 2,366,000, Catholics 634,000, priests 478, permanent deacons 5, religious 1,583), Australia. The bishop-elect was born in Bulli, New South Wales, Australia in 1964. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1992 for the diocese of Wollongong.

 Yesterday, 19 April, the Holy Father named Bishop George Stack, titular bishop of Gemellae in Numidia and auxiliary bishop of Westminster, as Metropolitan Archbishop of Cardiff, (area 3,064, population 1,510,000, Catholics 144,960, priests 94, permanent deacons 16, religious 157), Wales, United Kingdom.
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Monday, April 18, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI, who celebrates his 84th birthday today, received in audience Maria Jesus Figa Lopez-Palop, the first woman to serve as Spain's Ambassador to the Holy See.

  At the beginning of his address, the Pope recalled his visit to Santiago de Compostela and Barcelona this past November where, he said, "I saw many demonstrations of the vitality of the Catholic faith of those lands that have seen the births of so many saints and which are sown with cathedrals, centers of assistance and culture, which are inspired by the fertile tradition and faithfulness of its inhabitants to their religious beliefs. This also entails the responsibility of diplomatic relations between Spain and the Holy See that always endeavor to promote, with mutual respect and collaboration, within each one's legitimate autonomy in their respective areas, everything that promotes the good of persons and the authentic development of their rights and freedoms, which include the expression of their faith and conscience, both in the public as well as in the private sphere".

  The Holy Father highlighted that "the Church, in carrying out her mission, seeks the whole good of each nation and its citizens, acting in the area of her competency and fully respecting the autonomy of civil authorities. She seeks the good of those who are dear to her and those who ask God to serve Him in society with generosity, honor, skill, and justice. This goal, in which the Church's mission and the function of the state meet, moreover has given expression to bilateral accords between Spain and the Holy See".

  Referring afterwards to the difficult economic situation today, with its resultant unemployment "that provokes discouragement and frustration, especially in the youth and less-privileged families", the Pope assured his prayers that God "will enlighten those with public responsibilities, that they will tirelessly seek a path of recovery that is beneficial to all of society".  In this regard he emphasized the praiseworthy work that the Catholic institutions are carrying out to swiftly assist those most in need". 

  "The Church", he continued, "offers something inherent to her, which benefits persons and nations: She offers Christ, the hope that encourages and strengthens, like an antidote to the deception offered by other fleeting proposals or to the hearts lacking in values that wind up hardening to the point of not being able to perceive the genuine emotion of life and the reason of things. This hope gives birth to confidence and collaboration, thus changing the bleak present into the spirit's effort to face the future with hope, both as a person as well as a family and a society".

  Benedict XVI lamented that "in place of living and organizing society in such a way that favors openness and excellence, there are ways of living, often even having a certain sophistication, that are hostile to faith. ... There are certain environments that tend to consider religion as a socially insignificant factor that seek to offend it. This does not excuse the marginalization of religion, that at times takes place through denigration, ridicule, discrimination, and even indifference in the face of clear profanation. Such is a violation of the fundamental right to religious freedom inherent to the dignity of the human person, the "true weapon of peace because it can change and better the world".

  "The Church", he said, "Keeps watch over fundamental human rights. ... She keeps watch over the right to human life from its conception to its natural end because life is sacred and nobody can dispose of it arbitrarily. She keeps watch over the protection of and assistance to the family, defending the economic, social, and juridical means by which men and women contract marriage and form a family so that it has the support necessary to fulfill its vocation and to be the sanctuary of love and life. She also champions education that integrates moral and religious values according to parents' convictions as their right and as is beneficial to the complete development of youth. For that same reason this is included, as is the provision of teaching the Catholic religion in all centers for those who choose it, in the Church's own legal ordinances.

  Before concluding, the Pope expressed the desire that the next World Youth Day that will take place in Madrid in August, "will bear abundant spiritual fruit for the youth and for Spain. I also note the availability, cooperation, and generous assistance that the [Spanish] government as well as autonomous and local authorities are extending for the success of an initiative that will attract the attention of the entire world and will demonstrate once more the greatness of the hearts and souls of the Spanish people".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2011 (VIS) - Benedict XVI presided over the thousands of persons who filled St. Peter's Square for the Eucharistic celebration of Palm Sunday and the Lord's Passion and the day that celebrates, at a diocesan level, the XXVI World Youth Day on the theme "Rooted and Built in Christ: Firm in the Faith" (cf. Col 2:7).

  Before Mass the Pope blessed the palms and olive branches at the obelisk of the square, then he moved in the Popemobile to the altar.

  In the homily the Holy Father, reflecting on the meaning of Jesus' pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover, explained that "he knew that ... he himself would take the place of the sacrificial lambs by offering himself on the cross. ... The ultimate goal of his pilgrimage was the heights of God himself; to those heights he wanted to lift every human being".

  "But", he asked, "how can we keep pace with this ascent?  Isn't it beyond our ability?  Certainly, it is beyond our own possibilities.  From the beginning men and women have been filled - and this is as true today as ever - with a desire to 'be like God', to attain the heights of God ... And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful. With the increase of our abilities there has been an increase not only of good. Our possibilities for evil have increased and appear like menacing storms above history. Our limitations have also remained: we need but think of the disasters which have caused so much suffering for humanity in recent months".

Benedict XVI highlighted that "man finds himself betwixt this twofold gravitational force; everything depends on our escaping the gravitational field of evil and becoming free to be attracted completely by the gravitational force of God, which makes us authentic, elevates us, and grants us true freedom".

  "God himself must draw us up, and this is what Christ began to do on the cross.  He descended to the depths of our human existence in order to draw us up to himself, to the living God. ... Only in this way could our pride be vanquished: God's humility is the extreme form of his love, and this humble love draws us upwards".

  The Pope placed special emphasis on the need we have of God. "he draws us upwards; letting ourselves be upheld by his hands - by faith, in other words - sets us aright and gives us the inner strength that raises us on high. We need the humility of a faith which seeks the face of God and trusts in the truth of his love. The question of how man can attain the heights, becoming completely himself and completely like God, has always engaged mankind".

 "We are on pilgrimage with the Lord to the heights. We are striving for pure hearts and clean hands, we are seeking truth, we are seeking the face of God. Let us show the Lord that we desire to be righteous, and let us ask him: Draw us upwards! Make us pure!" He concluded, "grant that the words which we sang in the processional psalm may also hold true for us; grant that we may be part of the generation which seeks God, 'which seeks  your face, O God of Jacob'"
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VATICAN CITY, 17 APR 2011 (VIS) - At the end of the celebration of the solemnity of Palm Sunday and the Lord's Passion, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer the Pope addressed those present in various languages, exhorting them above all, "to live the celebration of the Lord's Passion and Glorification in order to achieve the fullness of what these feasts mean and hold".

  "I am particularly speaking to you, beloved youth" he continued in Spanish, "that you accompany me at the World Youth Day that will take place in Madrid this coming August, with the theme of "Rooted and Built in Christ: Firm in the Faith".

  "Today I am also thinking of Colombia", he continued, "where the Day of Prayer for victims of violence will be held this coming Good Friday. I am spiritually near to this initiative and earnestly urge Colombians to participate in it, at the same time I ask God for those in this beloved nation who have been appallingly stripped of their lives and their possessions. I renew my urgent call to conversion, repentance, and reconciliation. No more violence in Colombia, that peace there reign!"
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VATICAN CITY, 18 APR 2011 (VIS) - Following is the program of Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to Croatia - scheduled for 4 - 5 June - for the National Day of Croatian Families.

  The Pope will leave at 9:30am on Saturday, 4 June, from Rome's Fiumicino Airport and will land at Pleso International Airport in Zagreb at 11:00am. After the welcoming ceremony, a courtesy visit will be made to Ivo Josipovic, the President of the Republic, at the presidential palace, following which the Pope will meet with Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor at the apostolic nunciature at 1:50pm. At 6:15pm, in the National Croatian Theater of Zagreb, he will meet with representatives of civil society, the political, academic, cultural, and business world, the diplomatic corps, and religious figures. At 7:30pm, in Josip Jelacic Square, he will preside over a prayer vigil with the Croatian youth.

  On Sunday, 5 June, at 10:00am, he will celebrate Holy Mass on the National Day of Croatian Families in the Zagreb Hippodrome. At 2:00pm he will have lunch at the new offices of the Secretary of the Croatian Bishops' Council with the Croatian and other invited bishops. At 5:00pm he will presided over vespers with the bishops, priests, religious, and seminarians and will pray at the tomb of Blessed Aloysius Viktor Stepinac at Zagreb's Cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to St. Stephen. When finished there he will meet with Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, at his residence, and at 7:15pm will travel to Pleso Airport where, at 7:45pm he will make the return flight to Rome. The flight is scheduled to land at Rome's Ciampino Airport at 9:15pm.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 APR 2011 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father named:

- Fr. Jose Arturo Cepeda of the clergy of the archdiocese of San Antonio, Texas as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan (area 10,106, population 4,556,000, Catholics 1,515,000, priests 641, religious 1,552, permanent deacons 191), USA. The bishop-elect was born in 1969 in San Luis de Potosi, Mexico, was ordained to the priesthood in 1996, and, to date, was Rector of the Assumption Seminary of San Antonio, Texas.

- Cardinal Justin Francis Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) as his special envoy to the bicentennial celebration of the birth of St. John Nepomuceno Neumann that will take place in Prachatitz, Czech Republic on 18 June 2011.

  On Saturday, 16 April, the Holy Father appointed Bishop Beniamino Pizziol, auxiliary bishop of Venice, as bishop of Vicenza (area 2,200, population 855,608, Catholics 790,848, priests 732, permanent deacons 38, religious 2,086), Italy.
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Friday, April 15, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 15 APR 2011 (VIS) - This afternoon the Holy Father will receive in audience Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, 15 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Charles Henry Dufour, bishop of Montego Bay, Jamaica as Archbishop of Kingston in Jamaica (area 3,267, population 1,448,000, Catholics 58,000, priests 63, permanent deacons 29, religious 313), Jamaica. He succeeds Msgr. Donald James Reece, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique:

  "Today in the Apostolic Palace Benedict XVI received in audience the president of the Republic of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, who subsequently met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions mention was made of the good relations between Latvia and the Holy See, also emphasised by the 2000 Agreement, and the high esteem in which the Church is held in the country.

  "Considering the current international economic climate, which has had heavy repercussions also in Latvia, appreciation was expressed for the significant and valid contribution the Church offers to Latvian society, not only through its initiatives in the educational and social fields, but also through the presentation of its social doctrine.

  "Throughout the discussions, emphasis was placed on the importance of safeguarding traditional values and peaceful coexistence. At the international level, mention was made of the contribution of Latvia in the promotion of peace and in areas of collaboration with the Holy See".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI received in audience the bishops and faithful of the Maronite Church, on the occasion of the ecclesiastical communion of their new patriarch, Bechara Boutros Rai on 24 March.

  The Pope emphasised at the beginning of his address that this was the first visit to the Successor of Peter by the patriarch Rai since his election to the patriarchal see of Antioch of the Maronites.

  Referring to the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East (October 2010), the Pope underlined that on that occasion it was necessary "to reiterate many times the urgency of proposing the Gospel to those who do not know it well or have moved away from the Church. With all the vital force present in Lebanon and the Middle East, I know you will make efforts to announce, to bear witness to and to live in communion this Word of life in order to rediscover the enthusiasm of the first Christians".

  "This region of the world which the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and Christ Himself blessed with their presence and their teaching, aspires to the lasting peace that the Word of Truth, welcomed and shared, is able to establish".

  The Holy Father went on to speak about the education of young people, expressing his wish that the patriarch's "role in their formation be better recognised by society, in order that fundamental values be transmitted without discrimination, and to ensure that the youth of today become responsible men and women within their families and society at large, to build greater solidarity and fraternity between the members of the nation. Transmit to the young all my esteem and affection, reminding them that the Church and society need their enthusiasm and hope".

  "Therefore", he concluded, "I invite you to intensify your efforts in the formation of priests and the many young people called to the Lord within your eparchies and in your  religious congregations. By their teaching and their existence, may they be authentic witnesses to the Word of God, to help the faithful anchor their lives and their mission in Christ!"
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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of ceremonies to be presided by Benedict XVI during Holy Week.

 - Sunday 17 April: Palm Sunday and Our Lord's Passion; 26th World Youth Day on the theme: "Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, Firm in the Faith" (Col 2.7). At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, blessing of palms, procession and Mass.

 - Thursday 21 April: Holy Thursday. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Chrism Mass. At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, beginning of Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. Collection to be donated to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

 - Friday 22 April: Good Friday. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, celebration of the Passion of Our Lord. Way of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9.15 p.m.

 - Saturday 23 April: Easter Saturday. At 9 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, beginning of Easter Vigil.

 - Sunday 24 April: Easter Sunday. At 10.15 a.m., Mass in St. Peter's Square. At midday, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy See Press Office published the following English-language communique on the IVth Plenary Meeting, held in the Vatican from 11 to 13 April, of the Commission instituted by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 to study questions of major importance concerning the life of the Church in China.

  At the end of the meeting, the participants addressed a message to Chinese Catholics:

  "1. Moved by love for the Church in China, by sorrow for the trials you are undergoing and by the desire to encourage you, we deepened our knowledge of the ecclesial situation by means of a panoramic vision of the organization and life of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions in your country. We noted the general climate of disorientation and anxiety about the future, the sufferings of some circumscriptions deprived of Pastors, the internal divisions of others, the preoccupation of still others who do not have sufficient personnel and means to tackle the phenomena of growing urbanization and depopulation of rural areas.

  "From an examination of the information, there also emerged a living faith and an experience of the Church, capable of dialoguing in a fruitful way with the social realities of each territory.

  "2. We encourage the Bishops, together with their priests, to conform themselves ever more closely to Christ the Good Shepherd, to ensure that their faithful do not lack education in the faith, to stimulate a just industriousness and to strive to build, wherever they are lacking and are necessary, new places of worship and education in the faith and, especially, to form mature Christian communities. We also invite Pastors to take care of the life of the faithful with renewed commitment and enthusiasm, especially in its essential elements of catechesis and liturgy. We exhort the same Pastors to teach priests, by their own example, to love, forgive and remain faithful. We also invite ecclesial communities to continue to proclaim the Gospel with ever more intense fervour, while we unite ourselves to their gratitude to God for the baptism of adults, which will be celebrated during the upcoming days of Easter.

  "3. We dwelt in particular on some difficulties which have recently emerged in your communities.

  "As far as the sad episode of the episcopal ordination in Chengde is concerned, the Holy See, on the basis of the information and testimonies it has so far received, while having no reason to consider it invalid, does regard it as gravely illegitimate, since it was conferred without the Papal mandate, and this also renders illegitimate the exercise of the ministry. We are also saddened because this took place after a series of consensual episcopal ordinations and because the consecrating Bishops were subjected to various constrictions. As the Holy Father wrote in his Letter of 2007: 'the Holy See follows the appointment of Bishops with special care since this touches the very heart of the life of the Church, inasmuch as the appointment of Bishops by the Pope is the guarantee of the unity of the Church and of hierarchical communion. For this reason the Code of Canon Law (cf. c. 1382) lays down grave sanctions both for the Bishop who freely confers episcopal ordination without an apostolic mandate and for the one who receives it: such an ordination in fact inflicts a painful wound upon ecclesial communion and constitutes a grave violation of canonical discipline. The Pope, when he issues the apostolic mandate for the ordination of a Bishop, exercises his supreme spiritual authority: this authority and this intervention remain within the strictly religious sphere. It is not, therefore, a question of a political authority, unduly asserting itself in the internal affairs of a State and offending against its sovereignty' (No. 9).

  "The external pressures and constrictions could mean that excommunication is not automatically incurred. However, there remains a grave wound, perpetrated on the ecclesial body. Every Bishop involved is therefore obliged to refer to the Holy See and find the means of explaining his position to the priests and faithful, renewing his profession of fidelity to the Supreme Pontiff, to help them to overcome their interior suffering and repair the external scandal caused.

  "We are close to you in these difficult times. We invite priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful to understand the difficulties of their Bishops, to encourage them, to support them by their solidarity and prayer.

  "4. With regard to the 8th National Assembly of Catholic Representatives, the words of the Holy Father, once again, are inspiring:  'Considering "Jesus' original plan", it is clear that the claim of some entities, desired by the State and extraneous to the structure of the Church, to place themselves above the Bishops and to guide the life of the ecclesial community, does not correspond to Catholic doctrine, according to which the Church is "apostolic", as the II Vatican Council underlined. (...) Likewise, the declared purpose of the aforementioned entities to implement "the principles of independence and autonomy, self-management and democratic administration of the Church" is incompatible with Catholic doctrine' (No. 7).

  "5. The choice of Pastors for the governance of the numerous vacant dioceses is an urgent necessity, and, at the same time, a source of deep concern. The Commission strongly hopes that there will not be new wounds to ecclesial communion, and asks the Lord for strength and courage for all of the persons involved. Concerning this, one should also bear in mind what Pope Benedict XVI has written: 'The Holy See would desire to be completely free to appoint Bishops; therefore, considering the recent particular developments of the Church in China, I trust that an accord can be reached with the Government so as to resolve certain questions regarding the choice of candidates for the episcopate, the publication of the appointment of Bishops, and the recognition - concerning civil effects where necessary - of the new Bishops on the part of the civil authorities' (No. 9). We make these desires ours and we look with trepidation and fear to the future: we know that it is not entirely in our hands and we launch an appeal so that the problems do not grow and that the divisions are not deepened, at the expense of harmony and peace.

  "6. In examining the situation of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions, various difficulties regarding their boundaries have emerged. Concerning this, the necessity of taking note of the changed circumstances was recognised as well as the need of respecting the ecclesiastical norms and always keeping in mind what is written in the Papal Letter to the Catholics in China: 'I wish to confirm that the Holy See is prepared to address the entire question of the circumscriptions and ecclesiastical provinces in an open and constructive dialogue with the Chinese Episcopate and - where opportune and helpful - with governmental authorities' (No. 11).

  "7. Finally, we dwelt on the theme of formation of seminarians and female religious, inside and outside of China ...  We have noted with pleasure that the Catholic communities in China organise within themselves initiatives for the purpose of formation.

  "8. We hope that the sincere and respectful dialogue with the civil authorities may help to overcome the difficulties of the present moment, so that the relations with the Catholic Church may also contribute to harmony in society.

  "9. We have learnt with joy the news that the diocese of Shanghai can start the beatification cause of Paul Xu Guangqi, which will be added to that of Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J.

  "10. To overcome the difficult situations of each community, prayer will be of great help. Various initiatives can be organised, which will help to renew your communication of faith in Our Lord Jesus and of fidelity to the Pope, so that the unity among you may be ever more deepened and visible.

  "11. In the gathering that took place at the end of the Plenary Meeting, His Holiness recognised the desire for unity with the See of Peter and with the Universal Church which the Chinese faithful never cease to manifest, notwithstanding being in the midst of many difficulties and afflictions. The faith of the Church, set forth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to be defended even at the price of sacrifice, is the foundation on which the Catholic communities in China should grow in unity and communion".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Pontifical Biblical Commission will hold its annual plenary session from 2 to 6 May in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (Vatican City), under the presidency of Cardinal William Joseph Levada. Fr. Klemens Stock, S.J., secretary general, shall direct the work of the assembly.

  According to a communique issued today, "during the meeting the members will continue their reflections on the theme 'Inspiration and truth in the Bible'. In the first phase of study the Commission will attempt to examine how the themes of inspiration and truth appear in the Sacred Scriptures. Subsequently, on the basis of their individual competences, each Member shall present a report which shall then be discussed collectively in the Assembly".
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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received Francisco Vasquez y Vasquez, ambassador of Spain to the Holy See, accompanied by his wife, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, 14 APR 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed as advisors of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts:

Krzysztof Nitkiewicz, bishop of Sandomierz, Poland; Bernard Anthony Hebda, bishop of Gaylord, USA; Msgr. Giacomo Incitti, Extraordinary Professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Italy; Msgr. Joaquin Llobell, ordinary professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and Judge of the Vatican City State Court of Appeal; Msgr. Mauro Rivella, under-secretary of the Italian Episcopal Conference; Jorge Miras Pouso, dean of the School of Canon Law, University of Navarra, Spain; Marcel Ndjondjo Ndjula K'Asha, dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science, Catholic University of the Congo; Jean-Pierre Schouppe, promoter of justice and defender of the bond at the Interdiocesan Tribunale of First Instance of the Francophone dioceses of Belgium; Markus Graulich, S.D.B., substitute promoter of justice at the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signatura; Fr. Manuel Jesus Arroba Conde, C.M.F., president of the "Utriusque Iuris" Institute of the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome; Fr. Damian Guillermo Astigueta, S.J., ordinary professor at the School of Canon Law, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome; Priamo Etzi, O.F.M., dean of the School of Canon Law, Pontifical University "Antonianum", Rome; Fr. Philippe Toxe, O.P., ordinary professor of Canon Law at the Institut Catholique, Paris, France; Carlo Cardia, ordinary professor of Ecclesiastical Law and professor of Philosophy of Law at the Faculty of Law, University "Roma Tre", Rome; Ludger Muller, president of the Institute of Canon Law in the Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Vienna, Austria; Helmuth Pree, ordinary professor of Canon Law, University of Munich, Germany; Carlos Rene Salinas Araneda, ordinary professor of Canon Law and Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law, Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso, Chile; Geraldina Boni, ordinary professor of Law at the University of Bologna, Italy; Maria Jose Roca Fernandez, ordinary professor at the Faculty of Law, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS) - During this Wednesday's general audiences, Benedict XVI concluded the cycle of catechesis he has dedicated over the course of two years to the many saints who "with their faith, with their charity and with their lives, have been beacons for many generations, and are thus also for us".

  "Often we are led to believe that sainthood is reserved to a few chosen ones", the Pope said. Nonetheless, "saintliness, the fullness of Christian life, does not consist in the achievement of extraordinary feats, but in uniting oneself with Christ... in making His disposition ... His behaviour ... our own. ... The II Vatican Council, in the Constitution of the Church, speaks clearly of the universal call to sainthood, affirming that no-one is excluded".

  However, a holy life, the Pope continued, "is not principally the result of our efforts, as it is God ... who renders us holy, and it is the action of his Spirit which animates us from within, the same life of Christ resurrected which is communicated to us and which transforms us ... Saintliness is therefore ultimately rooted in baptismal grace, in being introduced to the paschal mystery of Christ, by which His Spirit, His resurrected life, is communicated to us. ... But God always respects our freedom and asks us to accept this gift and to live with the demands it brings, asks that we may allow ourselves to be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, conforming our will to the will of God".

  "How can it be that our way of thinking and our actions become the thought and action of Christ?" asked the Pope. "Once again, the II Vatican Council offers us clear guidance; it tells us that Christian holiness is none other than charity, fully experienced". However, in order that charity might, "like a good seed, grow in the soul and there bear fruit, the faithful must listen gladly to the Word of God and, by its grace, carry out His will through their works, participate frequently in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist and the Holy Liturgy; they must constantly apply themselves in prayer, in the abnegation of their selves, in the active service of their brothers and in the exercise of every virtue. ... For this reason the true disciple of Christ is characterised by his charity both toward God and toward his neighbour".

  "The Church, during the Liturgical Year, invites us to commemorate an array of saints who have fully lived in charity, and have loved and followed Christ in their everyday lives. They show us that it is possible to follow this path. ... We are all called to saintliness: it is the very measure of Christian life".

  Benedict XVI concluded by inviting us all to open ourselves "to the action of the Holy Spirit, which transforms our life, so that we too may become tesserae in the great mosaic of sainthood that God creates throughout history".
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VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS) - Following today's catechesis and during his greeting to the pilgrims in several languages, the Holy Father addressed an English-language video message to the participants in the Third National Family Gathering in Melbourne, Australia:

  "This important event is an occasion for you not only to witness to the bonds of affection within your individual families, but also to deepen them with the wider family of God, which is the Church, so that you become protagonists of a new humanity, a renewed culture of love and unity, of life and stability, giving glory to God our Father at all times".
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VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS) - The following declaration was made to the press in the late afternoon yesterday by the director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., regarding the situation of the ex-bishop of Bruges, Belgium, Msgr. Roger Vangheluwe:

  "In view of the proceedings against Msgr. Roger Vangheluwe, ex-bishop of Bruges, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - as already communicated to the Nunciature in Belgium - has requested that he leave Belgium and undergo a period of spiritual and psychological counselling. Throughout this period he will obviously be forbidden from publicly exercising his priestly or episcopal functions. The psychological treatment has been decided upon by the Congregation to enable further diagnostic and prognostic information to be gathered in order to continue and conclude the proceedings with a definitive decision, which shall remain the competence of the Congregation, to be approved by the Holy Father. This decision shall naturally require consideration of the various aspects of the question, above all the suffering of the victims and the need for justice. The proceedings are therefore still in progress and the decision made by the Congregation is of an interlocutory nature and not definitive".
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VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2011 (VIS) - A press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office at 12.30 today to present "Youcat", the Catechism of the Catholic Church aimed at the young, prepared by participants in the XXVI World Youth Day to be held in Madrid from 16 to 21 August 2011.

  The speakers at the conference were cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity; Christoph Schonborn, O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria; archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation; Bernhard Meuser, promoter and editor of Youcat, and two young participants.

  Cardinal Rylko commented that this catechism for young people has been translated into six languages, and 700,000 copies have been distributed. "It is a gift from the Holy Father to the young participants in World Youth Day".

  Referring to the planned World Youth Day, the cardinal continued "It is not enough to make young people 'dream'; it is necessary also to help them grow well-rooted in the rich earth of Christian tradition. ... A real education in the faith of the young, therefore, must begin by freely proposing Christ to them. He is the solid rock upon which they may build their lives!"

  He explained that "'Youcat' translates the content of the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church' rigorously and faithfully, and using language adapted to the young. It does not replace the Catechism, but rather, leads toward it, paving the way to the 'Catechism' and its 'Compendium'. It aims to guide the young toward a deeper knowledge of their faith".

  Archbishop Fisichella emphasised that "'Youcat' answers a current need to present the content of the faith, professed by throughout time by Christians everywhere, in language that is simple, complete and above all accessible to the young".

  One of the young people present explained that the name "Youcat" is a translation of the word "Ju-Kat", which corresponds to the abbreviation of the German "Jugend" (youth) and catechism.
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